Aliyah to Israel
With the establishment of the State of Israel, the messianic longings for Zion were replaced by practical steps toward aliyah. Aliyah shlichim reached even the most remote villages.
Whole communities uprooted themselves and set forth for the Holy Land. The majority of Moroccan Jews made aliyah (although some immigrated to France, Canada, the United States, and South America).
The Contribution of Moroccan Jews to the State of Israel
Today, hundreds of thousands of Moroccan Jews are successfully integrated into Israeli society.
For the most part, they settled in development towns in the South and North of the country, or moved to large cities, where they are employed in commerce, industry, education and science. Furthermore, North African Jews established more than one hundred moshavim and agricultural settlements throughout Israel.
In short, the aliyah of Jews from North Africa during the early days of the State was an important factor in the emergence of a modern Jewish State.
The success of their absorption into Israeli society is illustrated by the fact that young leaders of North African origin serve in many government positions: ministers, Knesset members and mayors.
Even those who still live outside of Israel maintain their Jewish identity and traditions and have close links with Israel.
Renewal of the Mimouna in Israel
The Jews from North Africa continued to celebrate the Mimouna in Israel within the family setting. However, in 1966, the first attempt was made to celebrate it as a national holiday.
The festivities, organized jointly with the Organization of Olim from Fez, were held in the Herzl forest near Ben Shemen with 300 participants from Fez and their families and friends. It was like a family gathering, a very festive and emotional celebration. The success of the gathering led to a decision to celebrate the Mimouna as a national holiday. Thus, in 1968, the festivities were held in Sanhedria Park, in the newly-reunited city of Jerusalem, with 5,000 participants. The participants belonged to a variety of ethnic groups, not just former residents of Fez and their descendents.
During 20th year of the State of Israel, 10,000 people participated in the festivities. In the following years, festivities were held in many cities and towns.
In the tenth year of these revived Mimouna celebrations, festivities were held in Jerusalem, Gan Hashlosha, Kiryat Shmonah, Acco, Ashdod and other locations. Some quarter of a million people participated in the celebrations. The central goal of the Mimouna celebrations was to bring the experience of hospitality, a tradition which was deeply rooted in North African culture, to all the people of Israel. In addition, the festivities emphasized friendship and brotherhood among men.
During the last seven years, the Beyahad movement has organized the Mimouna festivities, which have taken on additional cultural and traditional significance.
There are Mimouna festivities now in sixty cities throughout Israel. The festivities in Gan Sacher in Jerusalem are attended by 250,000 people including the President, the Prime Minister, Knesset
In your opinion, are these goals achieved in public celebrations attended by tens of thousands of people? Or would it be better to celebrate the festival within the setting of the family?
The Main Themes of the Mimouna Celebrations
In recent years, the Mimouna celebrations have take on a national dimension. The Israeli public as a whole now takes part in Mimouna celebrations.
One of Israel’s leaders described the Mimouna in these words:
“The Mimouna is a beautiful and fitting gift from North African Jewry. This is a festival of unity, of brotherhood and hospitality. The people of Israel are blessed to have the Mimouna which unites them and brings them closer together. This is what is special about the Mimouna.”
The Beyahad movement, which was founded by Israelis of North African descent, has the mission of working for the unity of Israel and the preservation of its heritage.
Each year, a central theme is adopted for activities throughout the year, as well as during the Mimouna festivities. The themes reflect the goals of the Mimouna celebrations. The adoption of a central theme began in 1980.
Year with Central Theme and Emphasis
1980 Values and Heritage Jewish heritage
1981 Aliyah and Settlement Settling the Land of Israel
1982 One People Together Israel as one people
1983 The Tribes of Israel together Absorption of the exiles
1984 Unity Unity of Israel
1985 Each man is a world Emphasis on the individual
1986 And you will dwell with your brother Obligation to mutual welfare
1987 May Jerusalem be blessed with peace 20 years since the unification of Jerusalem
1988 Peace for our Land 40 years of the State of Israel
1989 Bridges A decade since the founding of Beyahad
1990 Hillel would say Torah and courtesy
? Divide the above eleven themes into the following three categories:
1) Uniqueness of the Jewish people
2) The value of the individual and the Jewish people
3) The Land of Israel
How would you have suggested celebrating the Mimouna in 1987 – “Pray for the Welfare of Jerusalem.”
What should have been the emphasis of the Mimouna celebrations in 1988 – the 40th anniversary of the State of Israel.
Suggest some other themes for the Mimouna celebrations: